Yukon woman killed in Faro had applied for protection against accused shooter

Saengduean Honchaiyaphum, 42, was the loving mother of two children, and had been the partner of accused shooter Ralph Shaw according to community members that spoke with CBC News.

Saengduean Honchaiyaphum had been married to Ralph Shaw for almost 2 decades, a friend says

Saengduean Honchaiyaphum, known to friends as Sang, was married to Ralph Bernard Shaw for 17 years, according to a close friend. (Sang Honchaiyaphum/Facebook)

One of the victims of the accused Faro shooter was his estranged wife, and court records show she'd asked for protection under Yukon's justice system from him less than a year before she died.

Saengduean Honchaiyaphum, 42, was the loving mother of two children and had been married to the accused shooter Ralph Shaw for almost two decades, according to a close friend who spoke with CBC News.

Honchaiyaphum was one of three victims in Tuesday's shooting rampage in the small Yukon community of only about 450 people. Another local man, 73-year-old Patrick McCracken, was killed by a gunman that day. A third person was critically injured.

Police confirmed on Wednesday the initial call was about a "domestic dispute." 

CBC News was able to confirm via court records that Honchaiyaphum filed for protection against Shaw under the territory's Family Violence Protection Act in 2021. The court record only shows what year the request was filed and who was involved. It doesn't provide any public details about what types of protections were requested, why they were requested or who, exactly, the protection was being asked for.

What is the Family Violence Protection Act?

People can apply for protection under the act if they are a victim. A victim can be someone who lives with another person in a family, spousal or intimate relationship and who has been subjected to family violence. It can also include someone who is the parent of one or more children, regardless of marital status or living arrangements. 

People can also apply for an order on the behalf of victims under certain circumstances.

The act defines "family violence" as any act or omission that causes bodily harm or damage to property, any act or threatened act that causes a reasonable fear of bodily harm or of damage to property, forced confinement, sexual abuse or depriving a person of the necessities of life.

There are many different types of protection the act can potentially provide for victims.

It includes orders that can grant the victim and other family members exclusive occupation of the residence, restrain the person who the order is made against from communication with the victim and/or require them to surrender all firearms in their possession.

Difficult for victims to access resources in communities

Rates of police-reported intimate partner violence are notably higher in the territories than elsewhere in the country.

Statistics Canada data from 2019, released in March, show Nunavut has the highest rate, followed by the N.W.T. and then the Yukon. Even as the lowest of the territories, the Yukon's rates of police-reported intimate partner violence are still about four times the national average.

A lack of housing, stress from poverty, colonization and intergenerational trauma from residential schools contribute to the higher rates of violence in the North, says a report from the International Journal of Circumpolar Health.

Barb McInerney, executive director of the Women's Transition Home in Whitehorse, said there are huge issues in the territory in ensuring the safety of domestic violence victims — especially in the smaller communities.

There are three transition homes in the territory in Whitehorse, Dawson City and Watson Lake. Getting to one of these centres can be a serious barrier for people trying to flee unsafe situations.

"Transportation is a huge issue here in the Yukon. We've got no buses … which for many is cost prohibitive …  so getting in and out of the communities is a real issue. "

On Thursday, McInerney's organization along with other members of the Yukon Women's Coalition offered condolences to Faro and provided resources for domestic violence victims in the territory.

These include 24/7 crisis lines for people across the Yukon, such as:

  • In Whitehorse, the Yukon Women's Transition Home crisis line at 867-668-5733.

  • The Dawson Women's Shelter support line at 867-993-5086.

  • In Watson Lake, the Help and Hope for Families crisis line at 867-536-7233.

McInerney said these supports are available to people who are in other communities as well, and the crisis lines will work with victims to figure out their options and resources available.

Any individual who is seeking support can also call Victim Services at 667-8500 or toll free: 1-800-661-0408, extension 8500. Services are available to Yukoners regardless of whether or not an application is made to the court.

With files from Mike Rudyk